When designing anything that needs power and data transferred around a mechanical system, interconnect components and cabling are going to be of critical importance. There are a multitude of different cables available for different functions, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses.
Here we explore some of the cables Interconnect Systems sell, and what those cables are used for.
Fibre optic cables
At the centre of any fibre optic cable is a glass core that's protected by coatings of stronger materials. Fibre optic cables are known for their high-bandwidth data capabilities, because instead of transmitting electrical signals like regular cables, they carry light. What this means in principle is that a signal can move much faster from one end of a cable to another- while not at light-in-a-vacuum speeds, it's nonetheless a great deal faster than any other method.
Fibre optic cables also prove resistant to electrical interference, making them especially suited for environments where other electronics may otherwise create problems. They are also smaller and lighter than cables with metal cores, making them a suitable option when space and weight are on a tight budget. Finally, fibre optic cables can send signals further than other kinds of cables without any loss.
There are two kinds of fibre optic cable: single mode and multimode. The difference is primarily in the methods of transmission, where single mode has one core while multimode has many. Single mode fibre cables can transfer signals over longer distances – in some cases more than 50 times so – but it's also more expensive.
Some of the applications our fibre optic cables are used for (but not limited to) include:
- Shipboard communications.
- Ship to shore communications.
- Deployable tactical communications.
Our fibre optic cables come in a range of types.
1. Glenair High Density (GHD)
For military, commercial air and space applications that require excellent performance with reduced size and weight, the Glenair High Density system is the cabling of choice. Glenair has created a cable with almost double the density of of M28876 and D38999. It's available in plug, flange mount and jam nut styles, as well as a range of materials including aluminium alloy, composite and stainless steel.
2. MIL-DTL-38999 type
Offering high connector reliability, environmental and mechanical performance and low dB insertion loss, MIL-DTL-38999 fibre optic cables prove a great choice for air and space applications. They've been used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as the F-22. It comes in single mode and multimode for all the common fibre sizes.
Coaxial cables have a core of copper, surrounded by a plastic insulation layer followed by a braided metal shield and a plastic outer. This construction makes it very resistant to electrical interference, meaning coaxial cables can be used around potential sources of interference without trouble.
Part of designing a coaxial cable requires getting the ratios between different materials right in order to ensure the cable has a fixed impedance value. Two of the most common impedance values coaxial cables have are 50 ohm and 75 ohm.
The markets Interconnect Systems coaxial cables are used in includes marine, industrial, off-shore, and rail and mass transit. Interconnect sell a variety of 50 and 75 ohm coaxial cables, all of which conform with Low Smoke and Zero Halogen (LSZH) requirements. There are three kinds of Speedflex cables available:
- Speedflex: works in temperature range 40°C to 80°C.
- Speedflex XL: works in temperature range -40°C to 105°C.
- Speedflex UL: works in temperature range -40°C to 60°C ; UL approved.
Aside from those differences, all have a frequency range up to 2.5GHz, are flame retardant, and are low smoke zero halogen.
Electrical cables come in an assortment of different constructions, materials and shielding properties. The specific demands of the task at hand determine what cable, and in what configuration, should be used.
1. NEMA-WC27500 cable
The NEMA-WC27500 spec cable is one of the most commonly used cables in military ground and aerospace applications. It comes in a range of conductor types, insulation materials and construction types, which include:
- Twisted pair.
- Twisted pair with jacket.
- Twisted Pair with shield, no jacket.
- Single shielded and jacketed.
- Multiple conductors with shield and jacket.
Depending on the specification used for construction, the cable can operate in temperatures from -65°C to 260°C. It comes in voltage ratings of 600 and 1000 volts.
2. Hi-Flex flexible power cable
The power management demands of modern military and commercial applications require cables that can provide increased loads without the usual bulk and weight that comes. This is what Hi-flex cables have been designed to do, being deployed successfully in a number of ways in electric drive vehicles.
Hi-Flex cables have an increased current-carrying capacity, thanks to their use of specialist flexible conductors and insulating materials. Depending on the need, this can result in a smaller cable that delivers the same amount of power as a regular cable from another manufacturer. The Hi-Flex cable range starts at a size of 6mm² and goes all the way up to 400mm², meaning there's sure to be one that meets the size, weight and power characteristics needed for your project.
The Interconnect Systems difference
What makes working with Interconnect Systems a wise idea? We can provide an end-to-end cable and connector engineering solution, all the way from initial manufacturing to final supply. The cables we have can be created in a range of conductor types, jacket materials and constructions to fit the purposes of your specific project. Be it for a military or commercial application, Interconnect System's products can stand up to the task. We provide our cabling technologies to customers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the USA.
Unsure of the kind of cable you need? Tell us what you need it to do, and we can help you find the best one for the job.
For more information, get in touch with a member of the Interconnect Systems team today.